Speaking to our Karl Marx: Marxism from a Nepali perspective

Karl Marx, you would be surprised to learn that your proclaimed followers and dogmatic warriors in the forest for ten years have happily shared government power with democrats, republicans, and also those who want the king back.

Gaurav Ojha

  • Read Time 4 min.

Karl Marx! Wherever you are, come down and see for yourself that only your old bearded picture hangs on the walls of our political parties in Nepal as if you have always been old and never young, but what about your young portrait? Maybe socialists, communists, and revolutionaries assume that your younger face appears excessively immature for your ideas. Besides, rather continually, your picture with that illustrious beard makes it possible for us to envision an impossible situation somewhere far further down the road where all of us human beings are free, the same, together, and equal.

Most of us are Marxist socialists in Nepal. Hence, all the political parties can always unite, whenever or wherever they wish. From left to right and center, all our political parties have agreed that capitalism is a highway for achieving their socialist dreams, and they are ready to agree more with each other if the capitalism they want is preferably more corrupt and crony.

Karl Marx, just as you appear in your old bearded portrait, you are like our dead father, and we Nepalis, as your children, cherry-pick your ideas according to our comfort and self-interest and contentedly ignore those that contradict our position. Sadly, we Nepalis find it easier to preach Marxism than to apply it in practice or put it on our character. As a result, Karl Marx, even for your dogmatic followers in Nepal, your dreams are too dangerous and difficult to achieve.

Your followers in Nepal have only converted your thoughts into something like opium with narcotic effects to help us two-legged mammals get so high that we repeatedly forget we don’t have wings. Hence, as the gravity of reality pulls our hopes down, our aspirations topple and turn into yet another disaster, and we are left with nothing but dust and only dust.

Karl Marx, you are the prophet of the unfortunate, the marginalized, the discriminated against, the different, the minority, and the excluded, and in Nepal it is blasphemous to think contrary to your thoughts.

Those who dare to oppose your thoughts are framed as reactionary, fascist, greedy capitalist, politically incorrect, supremacist, and socially regressive. Therefore, from old to new, all the Nepali political parties want to reframe you as their own. Everybody wants you on their side so that they can distribute everything for free to everybody. With your ideas, Marxist ideas make it easy to convince the masses that the government is their big brother, and don’t worry if the old one was wicked or corrupt; the newer one has come, and we will take care of you for sure.

Moreover, in every intellectual debate and discussion in Nepal, Karl Marx, it’s your ideas that stick together all the assessments, analyses, and evaluations about our current political and socio-economic condition like glue. Each and every intellectual assessment refers to your assumptions about the state, government, economic divisions, history, and ideology. Marxism is too much for us, and for all the intellectuals, Karl Marx is the reference.

However, none of the political parties in South Asia can underestimate Karl Marx. After all, it’s so easy to win elections by becoming leftist, by reminding voters that they have been left out, by exposing all the negatives of what is happening right now, and by constantly resonating false promises of radical transformation, without acknowledging what we have achieved so far and how far we can move ahead with what we have.

Karl Marx, you proclaimed that after the triumph of the communist revolution we would all be equal regardless of our caste, creed, ethnicity, gender, economic class, and other social divisions, but Karl Marx, what about the blood wasted in the torturous process of cutting and hitting by hammer and sickle to bring all of us into the same shape and size for the redistribution of wealth? Karl Marx, your ideas have the power to transform each of us who have been oppressed, discriminated against, mistreated, and marginalized, as evidenced by how many of us have been left out of Nepal’s proportional representation system.

Karl Marx, you complained that philosophers before had only contemplated, and you wanted to change the ways of the world and turn things up, down, and around. But, Marx, what happens to your revolutionary ideas when all the dialectics of history (thesis, antithesis, and synthesis) fall apart and join together again for yet another continuity of the past? Just as it always happens in Nepal after every revolution, the shadows of feudalism and its characteristics continue to haunt and taunt us.
Karl Marx, your ideas have become a standard criterion to divide us into the categories of “center,” “center-left,” “far-right,” “reactionaries,” “revolutionaries,” “socialists,” and “conservatives.” Strangely, in Nepal, even when the left is so left from the right and the right is so wrong from the left, both left and right can come together to serve each other’s self-interests. They get your message mistakenly right; you called for all working human beings to unite.

Karl Marx, you would be surprised to learn that your proclaimed followers and dogmatic warriors in the forest for ten years in Nepal have happily assimilated and shared government power with democrats, republicans, and also with those who want the King back in the nation.

Karl Marx, you are a romantic poet disguised as an enlightenment thinker. You were too rational about human beings, but we humans are different from what you thought; we are contrarians, creative, impulsive, partially evolved, dominating, selfish, and, more importantly, we don’t want to lose our chains.
But, Karl Marx, you have encouraged us to demand the impossible, and you are still the reason for hippies, theorists, revolutionaries, poets, and activists to believe that it is possible to live without private ownership, to investigate different approaches and methods for either overcoming social and political barriers that divide and discriminate us, or to dream about the days when we will all be free and equal. Karl Marx, your ideas have allowed us to assume that we, the greedy, impulsive, shortsighted, selfish genes, can become sustainable and unite together for a greater and more virtuous cause beyond our individual self-interests.

More importantly, Karl Marx, your thoughts are the intellectual foundations for identity politics, inclusive education, social welfare, critical theory, diversity, and multiculturalism. Furthermore, as long as the human mind survives, we the wretched, discriminated, and oppressed will never let go of your dream. We will hang you on the walls and think with our thoughts until the great dissolution, irrespective of whether your ideas become thick or thin. Karl Marx, you will be remembered as long as your ideas are interpreted and applied.

Gaurav Ojha is a writer, researcher and educator at different institutions. He can be reached at [email protected].